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Monday Afternoon Business Brief

December 3, 2012, 1:13 PM

Monday Afternoon Business Brief

Stocks have faded on Wall Street. Today's reading on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management showed contraction.

  • The Institute for Supply Management says manufacturing activity contracted last month. The group's index fell to 49.5, down from 51.7 in October.
  • Federal regulators have charged the Chinese affiliates of five of the biggest U.S. accounting firms with impeding the government's investigation of Chinese companies by refusing to turn over documents. The Securities and Exchange Commission says it has started proceedings against the Chinese affiliates of all so-called Big Four accounting firms, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a fifth major firm, BDO.
  • Health officials say flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly 10 years - and it could be a bad one. The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated.
  • Drugmaker Pfizer is starting another round of layoffs, targeting U.S. sales representatives who promote Pfizer primary care medicines to doctors. It isn't giving details on how many salespeople it employs, how many will leave or when that will happen. Individual salespeople haven't been notified whether they'll be furloughed.

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